Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced that Italy will be in a total lockdown until at least April 3 to contain the coronavirus outbreak – extending to the whole country the extreme measures originally announced yesterday for 14 provinces only. The restriction also applies to any sports activity, including the Serie A and lower divisions.
When Milan acquired 29-year-old George Weah from PSG in the summer of 1995, many commentators raised their eyebrows. “King George” would, however, prove them wrong and become an iconic player for the Milanese side, remembered for such exploits as the coast-to-coast goal he scored against Verona in the opening game of the 1996-97 season.
It doesn’t happen very often that Roma and Lazio can face each other with a title at stake. Lazio, however, can pride themselves on having beaten their bitter enemies in a Coppa Italia Final, thanks to a lone goal by Senad Lulic in the 71st minute. From that day, the expression “Lulic71” has become a sweet, obsessive mantra in the mind of any Biancoceleste fan.
Oh, those good old days when one could see Roberto Baggio and Diego Maradona facing each other in the Serie A. When the two used to meet, the game could never be an ordinary one: It was September 17, 1989, indeed, when a young Baggio took the luxury of scoring a sensational goal which clearly resembled Maradona’s Gol del Siglo at the World Cup 1986.
On February 4, 2004, Roma and Juventus squared off at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, while sharing the second spot in the table, to decide who between them would be Carlo Ancelotti’s Milan’s main challenger for the rest of the season. Roma won 4-0, but the game is mostly remembered for Francesco Totti’s display of typical Italian hand gestures communication skills.
Napoli-Inter was the radiography of two football sides living diametrically opposed moments, with the final outcome taking a perfect snapshot of the situation. The Nerazzurri easily moved past the struggling Partenopei to capture their first win in Napoli since 1998, thanks to a sumptuous performance by Romelu Lukaku – who is turning Serie A into his personal game reserve.
Lecce-Udinese was an iconic battle in the 2004-2005 campaign. The Salentini and the Friuliani faced each other four times that season, twice in Campionato and twice in Coppa Italia. The match of November 20th, 2004, in particular, lived up to the craziest show-time expectations, featuring 9 goals and a dramatic last-minute penalty saved by Udinese’s David Di Michele.
And so, Milan it is. Zlatan Ibrahimovic decided to continue his seemingly-endless career with another stop in the red-and-black side of Milano. But while Ibra’s Second Coming is surely a hit for Serie A, the signing of a 38-year-old looks more like a temporary Band-Aid than the fruit of some calculated planning on the part of the Rossoneri management.
The first Japanese player to ever set foot in Serie A was Kazuyoshi “Kazu” Miura. Before Hideyoshi Nakata and Shunsuke Nakamura, before Takayuki Morimoto and Yuto Nagatomo, there was this little-known son of the Rising Sun who played for the Rossoblu side of Genoa in the 1994-95 season. Miura tallied 21 presences and 1 goal only – but oh, what a goal that was.
Two infinite minutes. That’s how long it took for the referee to check Alejandro Gomez’s position on a pass by Robin Gosens, before ruling that El Papu was not in offside when he served Timothy Castagne an assist for the goal that propelled Atalanta into history. La Dea qualified to the Champions League knockout stage after trailing Shakhtar Donetsk 3-0.
On September 1, 1991, Cagliari received title-holder Sampdoria at the Sant’ Elia Stadium in the opening match of Serie A 1991-92. The most representative player of the Rossoblu was Uruguayan midfielder Enzo Francescoli, who is still widely remembered in Sardinia for a magnificent goal that helped his side knock the Italian champions down.
There is a reason why Italy’s dazzling 9-1 win over a modest Armenia selection is sending the whole world of calcio in raptures. Historically, the Italians have not exactly been known for their offensive style of play, their football credo being rather exemplified by the notorious catenaccio. Roberto Mancini is on a mission to change that perception.